Top 10 Most Beautiful National Parks in the U.S.

30 famous national parks in the U.S.

In 2017, more than 87 million people visited U.S. national parks. They are very popular destinations for domestic and international tourism. There are a total of 60 national parks in the States. The criteria for their organization are natural beauty, unique geological features, unusual ecosystems and recreational opportunities. Very often the national park areas include nature protection systems with different legal regulation. First and foremost of these are U.S. wilderness areas.

They tend to have a common name, but may be managed by different subdivisions. This article provides a list of natural areas that are exclusively national parks. Twenty-one parks have biosphere reserve status. The parks are located in 28 states and two unincorporated areas of the United States. California has the most (nine), followed by Alaska (eight) and Utah (five). Fourteen national parks are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The total area protected by national parks is approximately 21,100,000 hectares.

List of the best national parks in America

Grand Canyon

Located in Arizona and covers an area of nearly 500,000 hectares. It was established in 1903 and includes the Colorado River Gorge. Huge drops in elevation and bizarre outlines of cliffs and ledges are features of the park. There are several hiking centers and camping sites in the southern part. There is a free minibus that makes stops at notable sites. There is a geological museum with interactive programs.

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Yosemite

Occupies just over 300 thousand hectares in California. It appeared on maps in 1890. The valley is surrounded by waterfalls and rocky escarpments. Particularly notable is Half Dome, which is chiseled out by a glacier. The slopes attract climbers and skiers who hone their skills here. Nature lovers are attracted to other sites, such as a grove of giant sequoias or expansive flower meadows.

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Zion

Has existed since 1909 in the Utah Territory. The area is 59,000 hectares. The Virginia River cuts the area into conditional sections, and around it are impressive height cascades of rocks and mountains. At different times of the year, the park opens up from unusual angles. There are special trails for mountain lovers, and there is also a paved road for travel by car. Nearby is the Grand Canyon.

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Carlsbad Caverns.

Attributed to New Mexico territory since 1930. The area is almost 19,000 hectares. The park is formed around karst caves. There are about 80 of them, and each has its own distinctive features in the form of mineral formations. Inside, there are a million individuals of bats, belonging to 16 different species. Tourists can choose the type of tour and the option of descending into the caves: by elevator or on foot through a well-equipped area.

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Crater Lake.

Located in Oregon, the area is 74,000 hectares. Formed in 1902 around the lake of the same name. The body of water occupies the crater of Mount Mazama volcano, which has not erupted in a long time. Hence the specific shape of the shores – sharp and uneven. A local landmark is the lake wanderer, a log floating vertically for over a hundred years. Because of the low water temperatures, the wood has not deteriorated.

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Bryce Canyon

It was founded in 1928 on the territory of Utah. The area is 14.5 thousand hectares. There are many small hotels nearby, some right by the road. The canyon is an orange mounds, as if carved out of stone. Only remoteness makes it less visited than the other three parks located within a radius of 150-200 km. A walk along the bottom of the canyon (from edge to edge) can take a whole day.

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Kenai Fjords

Established in 1980 to protect the Arctic territories in Alaska. The area is 283 thousand hectares. More than half of the area is covered with snow and ice. Regular cruises, or glacial tours, are organized. Journey along the fjord takes a few hours and allows you to explore the surrounding area. The main natural attractions are Vanishing Glacier and Harding Ice Field. A marine reserve is located nearby.

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Arches

Its history dates back to 1929. The area is nearly 31,000 hectares of Utah territory. The main feature is the natural sandstone arches. The most famous of the 2,000 arches is “Fine,” popularly called “Cowboy Pants.” Another notable object is the Balancing Stone: it is not quite clear how it maintains its position. The ideal time to visit the park is spring or fall, but in summer it is very hot.

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Acadia

Occupies an area of 19,000 hectares in Maine since 1916. Because part of the park is a seashore, there is often thick fog. Farther out is the forested area. Among the fauna, a special diversity is noticed among the birds – about 300 species. There are comfortable places to watch them. Baker Island is particularly suitable for this purpose. Paths for hiking stretches for 190 kilometers.

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Mesa Verde

Located on the same plateau in Colorado since 1906. The area is 21 thousand hectares. The main attraction are the rock settlements of the VI-XIII centuries, created by the tribes of Anasazi Indians. There are not only houses, more like modern apartment buildings, but also ritual premises, as well as the Rock Palace. It is surrounded by coniferous forests with many species of trees.

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Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Established in 1978 to protect the poorland and prairie. The area is 28.5 thousand hectares. Divided into two zones with different time zones. The Little Missouri River flows through the park. There is a hiking route that takes several days. Small cabins without walls are built on the hillside, used for resting places. Snow rams and bison have been introduced by humans, though their population used to be natural.

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Black Canyon of Gunnison.

Located in Colorado on an area of 12,000 hectares. Founded in 1999 on the basis of a pre-existing monument, includes 4 natural areas. The history of the park is inextricably linked to both the Native Americans and the builders of the irrigation tunnel, who developed this land. There is an information center, three camping sites. Leisure activities include rock climbing, kayaking, fishing and hiking.

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Canyonlands

Formed in Utah in 1964. Its area is 136 thousand hectares. From the name it is clear that there are many canyons. On the rocks were found drawings, which are thousands of years old. They were made, presumably by nomadic hunters. Observation sites have been built. There are several types of hikes, the shortest taking just over half an hour. There are two campgrounds in the park, with several more outside the park, but in close proximity.

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Badlands

Year of foundation – 1978. The area is about 94 thousand hectares. South Dakota welcomes tourists with ancient prairies (they are the most extensive protected in the country), where not only wild horses, but also bison feel at ease. Excavations on these lands allowed to find the remains of previously unknown species of horses, as well as saber-toothed tigers. Soil erosion is the cause of the formation of such rugged terrain.

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Biscayne

Established in the Florida Territory in 1980. The area is almost 70 thousand hectares. 95% of the park is water, and the coastline is mostly mango forest. A popular place to go scuba diving. Another attraction – excursions on a boat with a glass bottom. It is best to come here from early winter to mid-spring. The rest of the time, you can get caught in a period of gusty winds and downpours.

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Kobuk Valley .

Occupies nearly 708,000 hectares in Alaska. It has been in existence since 1980. Although the park is above the Arctic Circle, the temperature here rises to almost +40°C. The local sand dunes are a unique natural phenomenon. It is difficult to get here, so there are not many tourists. Sometimes use a dog sled. But geologists are frequent visitors. Among their areas of study are the remains of mammoths resting in the local land.

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Lassen-Wolcanick

Founded in California in 1916 on an area of 43,000 hectares. The main natural attraction is the world’s largest lava cone volcano, Lassen Peak. There are other volcanoes, and belonging to 4 different species. Tourists are attracted by mud pots and hot springs. The steam from them can be seen from afar. Some believe in their healing properties, others are interested in the phenomenon itself.

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North Cascades

Located in Washington State near the Canadian border. Formed in 1968, the area is 204.5 thousand hectares. Types of terrain are varied: high mountain tundra, meadows, coniferous forests, gorges, glaciers, etc. It is open all year round, but the highway that passes through the park is closed for the winter. There are a couple of infocenters and a few campgrounds. Hiking trails are designed for both experienced hikers who can handle the exertion and beginners.

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Petrified Forest

Formed in 1968 in Arizona. The area is 38 thousand hectares. It is conventionally divided into two zones with their own characteristics. In the north there are multicolored poorlands, also called “colored desert. In the south – one of the largest clusters of petrified trees in the world, as well as rock paintings and inscriptions of different periods. Logs of petrified trees are scattered everywhere: they have retained their shape but changed their cellular structure.

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Capitol Reef

Appropriated as Utah land since 1971. It covers 98,000 hectares. It is elongated and narrow in shape. There are patches of greenery, but it mostly looks deserted with chaotic, mountainous elevations. Late summer and early fall are the best periods to visit because of the natural features. There are motels close to the highway. Horseback riding is very popular, but mountain biking is not allowed everywhere.

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Cayahoga Valley

Is the only park in Ohio. It has existed since 2000, but it also used to have special status lands. The area is just over 13,000 hectares. There is active farmland in the area. Architectural monuments of the past are also preserved, including the Stanford House. There are trails to historic sites, as the entire area was actively used by people in the past.

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Grand Teton

Founded in 1929 in Wyoming. The area is about 125,000 hectares. The forests are vast, there are several large ridges and glacial lakes at their foothills. In addition to infocenters (some are not open all year round), there are guesthouses of varying degrees of comfort and service. The total length of hiking trails is 320 km. The roads have been widened: a bicycle lane is provided.

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Guadalupe Mountains

Exists in Texas since 1972. The area is 35 thousand hectares. In total there are three ecosystems, smoothly passing one into the other. Natural attractions: Mount Guadalupe Peak – the highest in the state and El Capitan, the forest called Lincoln, Carlsbad Cave, McKittrick Canyon, and others. There is an information center, ranger stations, and picnic and camping areas.

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Hot Springs

Located in Arkansas. Was converted from the oldest preserve (1832) to a national park on March 4, 1921. It is a stopover site for many migratory birds, which attracts amateur bird watchers. The park’s hot springs are believed to cure certain illnesses, including rheumatism. A full-fledged resort has sprung up next to them, for those who value enhanced comfort and service.

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Mount Rainier

The location is the state of Washington. Time of establishment – 1899. The area – more than 95 thousand hectares. The main natural attraction is the Rainier Stratovolcano. In addition to it in the list of historical places and monuments includes about 50 other objects: relict forests, waterfalls, escarpments, etc. Works tourist center. You can drive around part of the area and do the rest on foot.

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Great Basin

Located in Nevada since 1986. Area – 31 thousand hectares. The nature is mixed: from bare mountaintops to lowlands with lakes and vegetation, as well as areas of desert. Attractions: the place where the Prometheus tree used to grow, and the Leman Cave. The first is a pine tree, one of the oldest in the world, the cutting of which has caused controversy. The second is a former national monument named after its discoverer.

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American Samoa.

By a 1988 congressional resolution, it occupies the islands of Tau, Tutuila, and Ofu. The area is 3.5 thousand hectares. The misty forests of Tau, rich in birds, are its main feature, as well as the fact that it is the former spiritual capital of Polynesia and preserved old burial grounds. On Tutuila, you can use a car and there are rainforests growing here. Ofu is known for its coral reefs and attracts divers.

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Pinnacles.

Established in 2007 on an area of 10.5 thousand hectares in California. Among the especially visited places are the reservoir, caves, mountain ranges with natural vantage points. The caves have a number of features: some are flooded, depending on the time of year, while others are inhabited by bats. Developed hiking trails are considered quite challenging. Campgrounds are located in the eastern part of the park.

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Saguaro

Refers to the territory of Arizona, occupying 37 thousand hectares of the state since 1994. Is part of the Sonora Desert. Of the plants dominate cacti, of which there are 50 species. Research is constantly underway to preserve the populations and diversity of flora and fauna. Tourists are accessible year-round, but one must consider the peculiarities of the climate when planning a trip.

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Shenandoah

It appeared on the maps in 1935. It is located in Virginia on an area of 80,500 hectares. Just under half of the park has never been influenced by man. The terrain is covered with hills, and there are overlooks on ridges and near the highway. Waterfalls stand out among the places of interest, and Overall Run is especially popular. Not everywhere you can pitch your tents, there are special camping sites and three hotels.

Top 10 Most Beautiful National Parks in the U.S.

Everywhere you look on the U.S. map, you’ll find a National Park in almost every corner. Amazing landscapes, unique nature, indescribable beauty – that’s what awaits travelers here. Here are 10 of the most beautiful National Parks in the United States.

Yellowstone National Park.

Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the country, it was founded in March 1872. It is home to one of the largest mountain lakes in North America, as well as a unique geyser field, of which there are only 5 in the world. Yellowstone is also home to the largest volcano on the continent, which has already erupted several times, causing much of the park to be covered in frozen lava.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Grand Canyon National Park.

Located in Arizona.

This national park is also considered one of the oldest in the country. The plateau was eroded by the Colorado River for 10 million years, which created a huge canyon – the Grand Canyon, which is still growing. The length of the canyon at the moment is 446 km, the maximum depth is 1800 m, and the width is 6-29 km in different places. Dizzying scenery awaits you here, which you can admire from the observation deck.

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Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Located in Hawaii

This unique national park with active volcanoes covers an area of 1,348 km2 and the active Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983. In addition to the stunning natural beauty and volcano activity, you can visit lava caves here and try to decipher ancient petroglyphs painted on the lava surface.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Glacier Bay National Park.

Located in Alaska.

This national park is located near the town of Juneau on the southeast coast of Alaska. At 13,000 km2 you will find glaciers, icebergs, fjords, mountains covered with snow caps, rivers and lakes with amazing scenery. In the park you can watch the life of deer and bears, quite close to the shore sail whales.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Yosemite National Park

Located in California.

Located on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite attracts tourists with its natural beauty, green groves, beautiful waterfalls and high cliffs. Yosemite is home to over 160 species of rare plants, one of which is the sequoyadendron (a tree holding the record for longest life span and height). Yosemite National Park also has a 739-meter waterfall of the same name, which is one of the 20 highest in the world.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Acadia National Park

Located in Maine.

This park is located on islands near the Atlantic coast in New England. The area of the park is about 192 km 2 . Here you will find picturesque landscapes, beautiful lakes and dense forests. Through the whole park passes a beautiful road, traveling on which you can explore all the unique natural beauty of this region.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Grand Teton National Park.

Located in Wyoming

One of the largest national parks in the United States is adjacent to the oldest Yellowstone Park. The Grand Tetons cover about 130,000 hectares, and together with their neighbor they form the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Here you will find stunning unspoiled wildlife, majestic mountain peaks, lakes, and the Snake River with its many tributaries.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Arches National Park.

Located in Utah

The unique Arches National Park, not far from Moab, covers 309 km2 . Here you will find more than 2,000 naturally occurring sandstone arches, the most famous of which is the Delicate Arch, sometimes called the Cowboy Pants. An interesting site to visit in this park is the labyrinth tower called Rock Sorrow.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Badlands National Park.

Located in South Dakota.

Badlands Park consists of vast prairies, the total area covered by the park is 982 km 2 . Here you will also find sharp cliffs and steep hills. The park is also known for the fact that the remains of ancient mammals have been found there.

Top 10 most beautiful national parks in the USA

Chaco National Historical Park.

Located in New Mexico.

Chaco Park, favored by archaeologists, is located in the canyon of the same name, surrounded by the cities of Albuquerque and Farmington. The park contains traces of the Anasazi culture, which built extraordinary towers around which their settlements grew.

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